News from Anglicare today that rental affordability has halved for an alarming number of people during the COVID-19 pandemic show that urgent intervention is needed to keep Australians housed.
National Everybody’s Home Campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin said the Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot shows people with disability, aged pensioners, job seekers and minimum wage earners are in a far more precarious housing situation than they were in March – just six months ago.
“Considering recent reporting suggests that rents are declining for some, these figures are shocking and heartbreaking. They show that housing affordability has actually plummeted for many Australians, who are already taking pay cuts or lost work,” Ms Colvin said.
“At a time when minimum wage earners like childcare workers, cleaners and hospitality staff are facing shift or job losses, a working couple on a minimum wage with two children has half the number of homes available to rent than before the pandemic.
“Less than half the number of properties are now affordable to people on a disability or aged pension – neither of whom received the Coronavirus Supplement.
“And just 1,137 rentals (1.5%) will be affordable for a family of four looking for work if cuts to JobSeeker go ahead this month. It’s absolutely no understatement to say that homelessness and rent stress are going to skyrocket without national leadership and intervention.”
More than 300 organisations behind the national Everybody’s Home campaign are urging the Federal Government to lead a national effort to build 500,000 social and affordable homes – beginning with the Social Housing Acceleration and Renovation Program, which would build 30,000 social homes over the next few years, starting immediately.
They are also calling for the Government to maintain income support increases announced during the pandemic so that all Australians can continue to pay rent and remain safe and housed.
“The Federal Government has the power to both reduce unemployment and combat homelessness by investing in SHARP to build the social housing Australia so urgently needs and ensuring people have the income support they need to pay their rent,” Ms Colvin said.
“With nine per cent of all jobs in Australia housing construction-related, building social housing would also keep people in work and create employment at a time when that’s desperately needed.”
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